Professionalism is environmental. Amateurism is anti environmental. Professionalism merges the individual into patterns of total environment. Amateurism seeks the development of the total awareness of the individual and the critical awareness of the ground rules of society. The amateur can afford to loose. Marshall McLuhan, 1959
Bitte – laßt euch führen ich öffne die Türen vielleicht mögt ihr’s ein bißchen wilder? Wollt ihr was Visuelles oder ganz was Schnelles? Ich zeig Steve Reeves als Bodybuilder. Herr Doktor Frank N. Furter
Today we shall briefly gloss over the unpleasant incident from Friday where a couple of women, who can easily be said to be of a certain age, kept making flirty jokes about seeing me in various state of undress. Being well aware – for several decades now – of what I look like partially clad I can assure you that the bloom went off that rose a very long time ago. I chalked the the whole thing off to a severe reaction to hormone-replacement therapy and the overuse of hand sanitizer. Despite that Mom says she’s having me fitted for a guy burqa next week.
As Drudge says “… developing”
Moving along –
Speaking of age – there does come a time when you have a better understanding when it’s time to pick up a baseball bat and chase some one down the street only to find that you really don’t have the physical wherewithal to carry it off. This week, and several years too late, more people have dived into the discussion about the Era of the Non-expert and conflated it with the other discussion about how the Interwebs is making you stoopid. This came to our attention as not one, but two essays came out recently, the latter being about Jeff Jarvis’s latest book.
Two questions get begged here:
What do you really want from Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard?
Is this just the latest version of the old Greek saw about yet another corrupter of youth?
Face facts, nobody likes smart people. In fact, Americans excel at hating smart people. As a country we’ve really taken up where Ancient Greece left off. Heck, if you asked an Ancient Greek who Aristotle is, he’d probably look at you and say, “Which one?” Without chosing to define the discussion, other to shake your hoplite at the kids and tell them to get off your Parthenon, you really haven’t established a direction for a constructive conversation. The same holds true of the essays mentioned above. While bringing TELEVISION IS DUMBING US DOWN up to date there’s a void at the center of all that prose.
We don’t hate experts, but we are skeptical of them when it comes to people expressing opinions. No one in their right mind is going to have his or her appendix taken out by some one they know from church, unless that person is a qualified surgeon. From getting your teeth drilled right down to having your car fixed we depend on experts. You could even go so far as to say that accepting the division of labor as fact is in and of itself the tacit approval of the expert.
Lastly – take a minute and remember that democracy is merely the process of achieving a consensus for governing and not the search for the truth. While working as a group might get to the truth, there is no guarantee what you finally arrive at is anything but hooey. But, as governance, the individual – even if considered to be an expert at something – must be heard.
In a democracy people are free to express their opinions and question those of others. This is an important personal freedom, and also essential to the very idea of government by discussion. But it has also been held to be instrumentally important because in an open public debate true ideas will conquer false ones by their merit. Democracy thus has an epistemic value as a kind of truth machine. In a democracy therefore there should be no dogma: no knowledge that cannot be questioned. Not only is this view mistaken, but it is so obviously wrong that it is astonishing that it has ever been taken seriously.
But enough of all that.